I have never been someone who blames anyone but players for a loss. When a team only scores 18 points at home, it’s going to be tough to win. It’s also a pretty good guess to assume that the players were responsible. It was no different on Sunday. There was a lack of execution. The first four drives had results of 3rd and 17, lost fumble, 3rd and 18, and 3rd and 17. However, this loss is solely on Marc Trestman and Mel Tucker. Hear me out.
—Trestman had a chance to use a timeout and save almost 30 seconds before the second quarter ended. Instead, he chose not to. In hindsight, that was a dumb call, because his offense got the ball into New Orleans’ territory and settled with a long, but not long enough, completion. With another handful of seconds, that situation might have resulted in an easy field goal for Robbie Gould.
—Trestman then went on to use several minutes of the third and fourth quarter with run play after run play and no sense of urgency in between those calls.
—That brings me to my next point—I said on Sunday that the Bears had to run the ball a lot with Matt Forte. The fact that he was only given four fucking carries in the first half is inexcusable on the part of Trestman. I know they only went for a total of 10 yards, but against a bad run defense like that, they should have continued to put pressure on them. That would have also made it tough for Rob Ryan to dial up blitzes.
—Mel Tucker’s defense continues to get zero pressure on the quarterback. I know it seems odd after a game where they accumulated a few sacks. There were a few knockdowns of Drew Brees as well, but someone could have told me that Julius Peppers didn’t play and I might have believed them. He’s having his worst year of his career by far. Shea McClellin does nothing out there. Corey Wootton is mediocre. The former could have an excuse for age, but Tucker was supposed to help the last two get to the next level, and right now, they’re doing a lot of nothing. David Bass was the Bears’ best DE on Sunday. That’s embarrassing.
—Lance Briggs had a stupid play in the fourth quarter where he jumped offsides. I have never seen Briggs do something so stupid in my life. It makes me wonder if Briggs is tuning out his new coaches.
—Tucker’s defense also continues to not get their hands up on passes. That might be the only way they could have stopped Drew Brees and his short passes. Peppers talked last week how they wouldn’t change their scheme, but against a smaller quarterback like Brees, they would have to get their hands up to disrupt his vision and tip a few throws. They didn’t, and maybe that’s on the players, but again, there was none of this in the last several years.
These things can be fixed (except for the McClellin thing. He’s just bad). It helps that the next opponent is the New York Giants. The Giants are 0-5; if the draft was today, they would have the #1 overall pick. They can’t protect Eli Manning (fifth worst in the NFL) or get to the opponent’s quarterback (second to last in the NFL). They’re badly injured; their best defensive player, Jason Pierre-Paul, had offseason surgery and now only has one sack in 2013. Their best signing this offseason was TE Brandon Myers. Myers had 79 catches last year for Oakland, but this year, he only has five. The Giants are averaging a 36-16 defeat each week. They turn the ball over about 4 times every game. They have no run game, and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride admitted how tough it will be in the weeks ahead with Brandon Jacobs running the ball. Hell, New York is even dead last in the league in net punting. Nothing is going right for New York right now. This is a game that the Bears should win.
College Football Recap
It should be a beautiful night for football. Temperatures will be in the low 60’s at kick-off.
The Bears’ defensive line took another hit. Nate Collins, like Henry Melton, tore his ACL and is done for the remainder of the season. Joe Anderson (knee), Eben Britton (foot), Jermon Bushrod (calf), and Alshon Jeffery (ankle) are good to go tonight. Martellus Bennett (knee), Lance Briggs (hip), and Charles Tillman (knee/groin) are questionable, but I expect all three to suit up. Nobody saw Stephen Paea (toe) not playing on Sunday against New Orleans, but he indeed was inactive. He will be questionable again tonight. Anthony Walters (hamstring) will be out for the second straight week. The Giants are devastated. Chris Snee, a 3x All-Pro guard, is out for the year (hip) as are CB Aaron Ross (back) and FB Henry Hynoski (shoulder). LS Zak DeOssie (back), S Cooper Taylor, DT Linval Joseph (ankle/knee), TE Adrien Robinson (foot), TE Brandon Myers (ankle), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), and DT Linval Joseph (ankle/knee), WR Louis Murphy (ankle) all are probable while DE Damontre Moore (hamstring) is doubtful. CB Corey Webster (groin), C David Baas (neck), CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), and RB David Wilson (neck) are all out.
Did you know?
The Giants have 20 turnovers this year through five games. Last year, they had 21 for the season.
For this weekend, I like the Saints over the Patriots, Steelers over the Jets, Vikings over the Panthers, Colts over the Chargers, and in an upset, the Ravens over the Packers. (15-11 on the year)
Players to Watch
Victor Cruz- Right now, Victor Cruz is New York’s only actual weapon. Eli Manning is struggling this year with 13 interceptions (thanks to his horrendous offensive line). David Wilson fumbles a lot but won’t play anyway. Hakeem Nicks had a great start to his career but has missed games due to injury the past two years and only has 21 catches this season. Brandon Myers, as I mentioned earlier, is really bad. Cruz has to be dominant each and every week to give the Giants a chance.
Trumaine McBride- Trumaine McBride has been on 4 teams in 6 years, including the Bears. Going into this season, he was going to primarily be a special teams player for the Giants. Now, he’s starting. McBride gave up a long touchdown last week. He has zero interceptions this year. He’s a guy who the Bears can heavily exploit, and it doesn’t matter who he is guarding. With Hosley and Webster out, he will see the field a lot tonight, and that isn’t good news for New York.
Brandon Marshall- Brandon Marshall complained after Sunday’s game, but of course everyone is making it a bigger deal than it really is. The Bears have lost two straight games, and Marshall hasn’t been able to make a big impact in either game. Understandably, he said he is frustrated. Shortly after Marshall said this, Trestman said he has to do a better job of getting him involved. The Giants have given up 288 and 299 passing yards in their last two games. They’re 22nd in football in that category but 4th in run defense. In other words, the Bears will throw a lot tonight, and so I expect Marshall to catch at least 7 passes.
Anyone can now see that the Giants have a lot of injuries. They seemingly love to give the ball to the other team. Their two best players are doing nothing. Tom Coughlin sounds like a defeated man in every conference call and interview that he does. The Bears know that they have to win this game with a brutal schedule coming up—at Washington, at Green Bay, Detroit, and Baltimore. Fortunately for Chicago, whenever a team goes on the road to play a Thursday Night game, it’s extremely difficult for them. Two days of preparation and then a flight to another city is too much. It doesn’t help that the Giants are just horrible right now. Bears 30-16. (4-1 on the year)
-Brian Ociepka (@bjociepka1)